City Official Urges Testing for Visiting Sports Teams

    Players at the Little League Softball Alaska State Majors Division Tournament exchange gifts on the first day of play at Melvin Park Field. (Klas Stolpe / KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - With two Little League tournaments underway involving teams from outside Juneau and a third set to begin and teams arriving, Robert Barr, the planning and section chief for the City and Borough of Juneau’s Emergency Operations Center, said he hopes travelers take advantage of the city’s free COVID testing.

      “We’re happy to support and provide testing if they are interested in that,” Barr said. 

      Barr also hoped that anyone who has traveled recently to or from Juneau and is part of a Little League team or another sports team has been tested.

      “We would hope anyone traveling into Juneau right now would take advantage of free testing at the airport,” he said. “That is the easiest way to get tested if you are coming into, or departing for that matter, Juneau. But if you didn’t and you want additional testing we are happy to support and provide that. Just reach out to us.”

      Barr said the best contact for COVID questions is at the Juneau.org website.

      Currently, the Alaska District 2 Minors (ages 8-10) Special Games Tournament is underway at Miller Field with teams from Juneau and Ketchikan and the Alaska District 2 Majors Softball State Tournament is underway at Melvin Park Field with teams from Juneau and Anchorage playing.

      The Alaska District 2 Little League Majors Baseball Tournament is scheduled to begin Thursday, with teams from Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka participating.

      Barr noted they are staying vigilant about incoming teams.

      “It is certainly of interest,” he said. “We know that Sitka is experiencing quite an uptick in cases right now and they are seeing quite a few hospitalizations so it is something we are paying attention to.”

      The CBJ COVID-19 mitigations include that anyone unvaccinated in an indoor space must wear a mask.

      “A lot of these games and activities are going to be happening outdoors,” Barr said. “One of the things that we like to think about and talk about when we are talking about COVID spread is making sure that people have, or are thinking about having layers of protection in place. Obviously a mask is one layer. Being outside is another layer in and of itself. So outdoor activity is certainly preferential to indoor activity. That said, when players or anyone else who is outside, particularly if you are unvaccinated, if you are in close physical proximity of people for an extended period of time, we still want people wearing masks.”

      Barr said players and coaches should be masked when inside dugouts or close together.

      “Not on the field,” he said. “But when they are in a dugout or hanging out really close.”

      For fans, Barr said distancing is key.

    cleardot.gif  “If fans are watching the game and sitting right next to each other, sort of packed into the bleachers then we would ask that people mask,” he said. “If they are able to maintain that distance because there is a good amount of space or there is a lower amount of people, six-plus feet outside, than we wouldn’t require that but it would certainly still be an option for people.”

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